Review | Section 8
Format: PC/Xbox360 | Genre: Online FPS | Publisher: South Peak | Developer: Timegate | Release date: 11/09/09 | RRP: £34.99-£49.99
By Greg Giddens
The success of Battlefield 1943 has proven that the control-point sub-genre of first-person shooters is still highly sought after.
Section 8 attempts to refine this experience, and in many respects it succeeds. All the genre’s unnecessary hindrances, ones that have increasingly crept into the genre over the years, have been either removed or retouched to provide a purer game. But it’s at the unfortunate cost of character. Section 8 features elements of the Battlefield, Unreal, and Tribes series to name but a few, but offers nothing exceptional to give this title its own identity.
That’s a real shame, as the game is certainly fun to play. But it’s very likely to slip into obscurity over the coming months. The single-player mode is short and lacking in story, while the multiplayer – its main selling point – just doesn’t have enough flare to keep players coming back for more. With stronger titles out there already, and more due for release soon, Section 8 will struggle to hold its own in the long term – though not for a lack of trying.
//Sanity is a full time job
The term “Section 8” refers to the category of discharge from the United States military for being deemed mentally unfit. Which is fitting, because the squad you join up with, the 8th armoured infantry, consists of volunteers participating in missions any sane person would stay well clear of.
As upcoming officer Alex Corde, and wearing a suit of armour that increases strength, speed, agility, and has a rechargeable shield, you and your squad are sent to the outer planets to quell a breakaway organisation called the Arm of Orion. This single-player campaign really serves only as a primer for multiplayer, adding an unconvincing back-story and remaining criminally short, but although the experience doesn’t add much to the game as a whole, it doesn’t take anything away either. In terms of getting the most out of the experience, its addition is preferred to it omission; and as far as tutorial-esque introductions go, it prepares player well enough for the multiplayer onslaught.
Other than the single-player, only two other modes are present: instant action and multiplayer. Both modes only consist of a single game type, Conquest, and although you can change the odds by – for example – pitting humans against bots or you versus an AI army, the main objective remains the same: capture and hold control points. But it does incorporate several other objective based styles seen in other titles, delivering a generally satisfying experience.
//Points mean prizes
There are several things to earn as you fight your way to victory. You’ll gain experience points to raise your rank; requisition points to buy structures and vehicles; feats and victory points. Killing enemy players, destroying enemy vehicles and structures and capturing control points all earn victory points for your team; reach a thousand and your team wins. Feats are earned for prowess in battle, such as multiple kills and assists, and this is when things get interesting. Complete enough feats in a given category, and you’ll activate dynamic combat missions, or DCMs. These range from protecting a VIP to planting a bomb at an enemy location, and succeeding at these secondary objectives provides valuable victory points for your team.
Your enemy won’t just sit back and let you achieve these secondary goals, either. Once a DCM is activated, the other team is instantly made aware, and receives victory points for thwarting your plans. So you can expect a fight whether you’re participating in a DCM or trying to capture a control point. The addition of these DCMs within the conquest game mode is refreshing, and while it’s an addition that struggles to innovate, it certainly helps maintain a fast-paced and varied match each time.
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